Geneticists & Biochemists
abrdlher at reading.ac.uk
Sat Jun 1 16:12:50 EST 1996
One day, a retired geneticist was having a cup of tea at his friend's
home, a biochemist, also retired. The view from the biochemist's house
was wonderful, biochemists always have more money. The geneticist was
enjoying the fresh air and the view, when the biochemist said:
- Have you seen that factory over there? Every morning, workers come in
at one side, and cars come out at the other. I wonder how it works.
So they decided to use their skills to discover how the factory works.
The biochemist bought, since he had a lot of money, seven cars. And
started working like a good biochemist: he crushed the cars, and analysed
the products. The geneticist went one morning to the entrance of the
factory and tied down the hands of one of the workers. Afterwards he
started reading the last number of Genetics and meditating
scientifically, which some people also call siesta. Everybody knows that
geneticists don't work too hard.
Next day, the biochemist said:
- the composition of those cars is: 62% steel, 12% plastic, 5% aluminium,
7% glass, 2% fabrics, 2% rubber, and the rest a mixture of other things
like paint, copper...
The geneticist, however, was looking at the cars coming out of teh factory.
- Well, I have deduced that the worker whose hands I tied down yesterday
is the one who normally fits the windscreens in the cars, because the
cars today come out without windscreens.
Next day, the biochemist carried on working. He bought another seven
cars, dismantled them and tried to build up a car with the pieces.
Meanwhile, the geneticist tied down the hands of another worker.
Next morning the biochemist said:
- I've been working all night without success. I've been combining
different amounts of the materials that the cars are made from, but I
couldn't make one that works.
- Yet, look at the cars leaving the factory today - said the geneticist.
The cars were coming out in a straight line, and crashing against a wall,
one by one.
- These cars haven't got a steering wheel. Then I deduce that the worker
whose hands I tied down yesterday fits the steering wheels, that steering
wheels are necessary to steer the cars, and as this worker is different
from the day before yesterday's, I'd say each worker is specialised in a
Next day the biochemist was even more disappointed:
- I was not able to rebuild the car. I've tried different compositions,
as it may be possible that different concentrations are needed at the
initial stages. I've also heated the samples at many different
temperatures, but the car doesn't work. I've tried chanching the order of
the reactions... unsuccessfully... I don't know what else to do!
- Today I am confused too. Yesterday I didn't tied the hands of a worker,
I'm tired of them. Yesterday I tried tying down the hands of one of those
men who wear suits, ties and briefcases. And the cars come out perfectly
normal. I wonder if we shouldn't tied the hands of all the workers in
suits, ties and briefcases to see what effect we get...
And next day the biochemist and the geneticist went to the factory with a
very long rope, ready to tie down the hands of anyone with a briefcase
and a suit.
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